My current work in progress:

Stornoway, designed by Alice Starmore from her book Fishermen’s Sweaters, knit in Frangipani 5-ply guernsey wool in the Aran colorway, on a 3.0mm needle.

Which Do You Prefer?

Question from the comments — do I prefer knitting sweaters from the top down or from the bottom up?

Hmmmmm, I usually knit from the bottom up, but that’s not because I have a marked preference for that method. It’s just because the patterns I like seem to be knit from the bottom up. And I do usually prefer knitting sweaters in pieces and seaming them because I think seams add some support and structure to a sweater.

Still, I’ve no objection to knitting top-down every now and then, and this sweater will have minimal finishing needed after knitting, which is a good thing for a change.

As you can see, I’ve been slogging along on it.

And as you can see, I’m having problems photographing my progress.

I do still have a few inches to go before the ribbing, though. The ribbing will be fun, I think, because the sweater is split at that point and you knit the front and back ribbing separately. So it will have the illusion of going a bit faster.

Give-away! Give-way!

Reader Pamela B. contacted me a little while ago and offered two wonderful books for me to give away to WendyKnits readers. They are Favorite Socks:ย  25 Timeless Designs from Interweave and Fisherman’s Sweaters by Alice Starmore.

Would you like one of these books? Leave a comment to this entry and on Thursday afternoon (Oct 9) I’ll pick two winners randomly, one for each book. If you have a preference for one book over the other, mention that in your comment please.

Lucy Fur

Reader Mia asked me about Lucy and shedding management. I have to say — Lucy does not shed too badly, apart from her molting in the Spring. She does get brushed at least twice a week, and that helps a lot. She does leave fur on the couch, but a once-over with a good lint brush takes care of that.

Lucy sez:

“Why would you not want my precious fur all over everything anyway?”

Well, she would say that if she wasn’t watching something out the window so intently.


  1. I already have favorite socks, but would love to be entered for either – I’d like to have the fisherman’s sweater book especially, but socks make good gifts so it stands to reason that sock books do, too!

    Annikas last blog post..Initial Impressions of True Blood

  2. I want to try a sweater from the top down–I like the idea of being able to try it on for fit! I also like how easy it would make it to get the sweater long enough–I have a very long torso and often have a hard time finding things long enough…

  3. WooHoo… free books! Count me in! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cassandras last blog post..10 Great/Awful Things About TV Today

  4. I would love the Alice Starmore one! Thanks for the contest.

    Sheas last blog post..Sort of Jogless Stripes

  5. Your generosity is so refreshing!

    I can identify with the cat hair. Spring is never a good season for wearing black – by the babies are worth every clump of cat hair I drag to the office!

    Megan S.s last blog post..Cabana Boy! Pass Out These Awards!

  6. I would appreciate being entered in the Starmore drawing! Thanks!

  7. what generosity, either book would be wonderful since I never win anything and it would be a trip to have either.

  8. I would love the sock book. A sweater is too big of a committment at this point in my life!

  9. If I should be so lucky as to win a book, I would choose the sock book because I already have the other one. Thank you .

  10. I have a similar impediment to photographing. : )

    Thanks for the chance to win a book! I’d love either one.

    Margots last blog post..Ribbons

  11. I guess this is a good time to leave my first comment on this blog! I’ve been lurking for a while.
    I agree with your statement about top-down sweaters not having the same support and structure. I have VERY narrow shoulders, and an ample…OK, over-sized…bust. The top-down sweaters don’t often work on me because they don’t have that seam giving me some width. I use a lot of shoulder pads…

  12. I love the Lucy-on-knitting photo, she looks so fluffy and regal.

    So far I seem to like the top-down method better (in my limited experience), because leaving stitches to pick up for the sleeves later seems easier than fiddling with three tubes to knit together, going the other way (arm, body, arm).

    And I think both books sound fabulous, but if I had a choice, I’d probably go for the Starmore. Ooo!

    Thalias last blog post..Clicky clicky

  13. OOOOOHHH!!! A sock book I don’t have…pick me pick me!!!

    Emilys last blog post..His bit*h? Um, I don’t think so

  14. Charlotte says:

    I think Lucy fur would be lovely on or in any garment — pet hair is a good source of fiber! I’d love to have a chance to win the Starmore book.
    Thanks, Charlotte

  15. I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have a little cat hair intermingled with my knitting!
    And, since I already own and enjoy my own copy of Favorite Socks, I’d love a chance to win the AliceStarmore book!

    Janices last blog post..Whatcha Reading?

  16. Comment from me too! I’d love either or both of those books…
    I’m in love with top down. I like the way the sleeves are connected better. bottom up tends to do a lot of stretching and pulling after I add the sleeves… when I do it anyhow. Lucy’s so cute, but why do sealpoints always look cross-eyed? is it just my imagination? no harm ment, just wondering.

  17. I used to have a cat (she died this summer at age 21) who used to get into my yarn when I wasn’t home and would leave a pile of skeins in the middle of the floor for me to find – it was like these were her babies and I needed to be proud of her. (if she couldn’t find yarn, she’d steal the kids’ balled up socks!) She was quite the character. I love your blog, and would love to be put in the sock book drawing – I enjoy making them! Thanks for sharing a part of your world with us!

  18. I have “Fisherman’s Sweaters”, it’s a great book, but I would love the copy of “Favorite Socks”!

    Marlanas last blog post..Almost There

  19. My cat is a stealth shedder. Domestic short hair torbi (tortoise shell tabby), but those hairs add up!

    I like knitting sweaters in pieces, too, but the nice thing about top-down is that you can try on as you go.

    And I’d love to win the Starmore sweater book!

    MicheleLBs last blog post..Sock it to me

  20. I would love to have either book, and would be even more thrilled if just a bit of Lucy’s precious fluff were included.

  21. Oh! Wow! “Favorite Socks” has been on my wish list!! Thanks.

    I, too, tend to knit sweaters from the bottom up because that is the way patterns are written. I tried a top-down sweater, but it became very bulky and almost unmanageable.

  22. I have the sock book already and would love the Starmore book. Thanks.

  23. I think I prefer top down, but I haven’t knit enough sweaters to really know! In my mind, I think that toe up socks are better, but in my heart, I love top down. It takes all kinds!

    I own the Favorite Socks book already, and would love the Starmore book! Here’s hoping!

    Kathys last blog post..Deja Vu

  24. Oh! Either books would be good stretching tools for me. And my cat is in the process of “helping” his shedding along. I think we’ll be seeing either the vet or the shrink soon. ๐Ÿ™

  25. I prefer bottom up, because Raglan makes me look heavier. But I like top down because you can try the confounded thing on in progress.

    Elysbeths last blog post..Hah! Finis.

  26. Huntley Edwards says:

    Please add me to the random selection of the books! i really enjoy reading your blog by the way, i’d love to knit a baby sweater but i’m only 18 and i don’t know many people who have young children-do you know of any charities that would accept hand knit baby sweaters or can you think of something better to do with them?

  27. I love top-down sweaters, just because they seem so fast and easy. Lucy looks beautiful as usual. (and I would love to win the sock book!)

    Lisas last blog post..Now to remember….

  28. Thank you to you and Pamela for offering wonderful books in a raffle. I would like to be entered for either.

    Most of the sweater patterns that have interested me have been bottom up, as well. Lately though, the top down sweaters with minimal finishing have me feeling full of win.

    I wish my five cats and two bunnies would shed enough to just be clothes instead of covered on clothes, carpet and furniture.

    Denises last blog post..Last of the Quilt Show

  29. I’m such a prize whore… I already have the Favorite Socks, so an Alice Starmore would be a great addition…

  30. Lucy’s such a cutie!!!

    I would love to have a chance for the Fisherman’s Sweaters book! (I already have the favorite socks one… *blush*)

    Cyds last blog post..Knitters against MS

  31. Oh how terrific of Pamela to offer the books. The sweater is looking terrific and making me want to purchase that book. I would appreciate being included for the Starmore book. I would like either truth be told but if it leaves a spot for the sock book for another, just the Starmore. Thanks much

    Cheryls last blog post..Always Remember

  32. Ooh! I would love a crack at the Starmore book. I just finished a gansey and I’m ready for more!

    Anisas last blog post..Olympics, etc.

  33. I enjoy your website, I’ve bought one of your sock patterns from the Loopy Ewe and I’m waiting for your book to be available. Please put my name in for the book draws (I do have the Interweave sock book which I am working my way through as I write this).
    Thanks for all the socks and knitting and Lucy goodness!

  34. C.Harms in Alaska says:

    I wonder if knitting would be as much fun if we had glorious fur like Lucy….I would love to be in the drawing for either book, but if I get to choose, I’d like the Starmore book on fisherman’s sweaters. Thanks.

  35. Ooh! Count me in for a chance with the random number generator!

    Merediths last blog post..Antidote

  36. Donna in Ely says:

    Would love a chance to win either book!!! I haven’t made sweaters yet and do not have this sock book. Most of my projects have dog hair in them, it seems to “go with” everything. Love the Lucy pictures.

  37. I love giveaways! I’ve never won a giveaway on a blog before, but there’s that thrill of anticipation – I could win!

    If by some chance I did, I would prefer the Starmore book.

    Beth Bachusss last blog post..Squeaking In Time

  38. I love your giveaways, too; thank you for being always being so generous. If given a choice, I’d prefer the Alice Starmore book. thanks

  39. OOOH. I would love either book.

  40. I love your giveaways, too; thank you for always being so generous. If given a choice, I’d prefer the Alice Starmore book. thanks

  41. Are you going to knit socks again? Can you hear the whine in my voice? Knit what makes you happy. I just like Lucy. ;0)

  42. Hi Wendy
    I am doing two sweaters at this time – one bottom up and one top down. The top down is my preferred method so far (it’s in the round and going faster).
    Thanks for the book give away…I would prefer the Fisherman knit book if I were so lucky to be one of the chosen few.

    Lindas last blog post..Fold A US Candidate

  43. Pam Carter says:

    I read your blog every day. I really enjoy it. I have used your generic toe-up sock pattern with great sucess. Thanks for writing, for the pictures of lovely Lucy, and for including me in the raffle for either book. Pam

  44. Top down for me. I’m so lazy when it comes to finishing.
    I’m flush with sock books, the 25 Favorite socks being one of them. So I’d love to be in the running for the Starmore book.

    Pats to Lucy (from our three felines).

  45. My dog couldn’t care less about my knitting, but my spinning often hits her in the nose as she sleeps under my legs! Hard to see the sweater with Lucy on top!

    I would love to receive either book! Thanks for hosting this site and contest.

    Lizs last blog post..Making things even

  46. I’d love to be entered in the drawing for the books. If I had to say which one I’d prefer, it’d definitely be the sock book. I’ve ALWAYS got a sock going since they’re so portable and fun to knit!

    Linda in Chicagos last blog post..Debauched, awarded, and floating away

  47. You and Pamela B. are so kind to offer a raffle. The sock book interests me, which should come as no surprise.

    Hugs and purrs to Miss Lucy!

    Athenas last blog post..Heat!

  48. Jennifer Morgan says:

    I’d love an Alice Starmore book, if I were lucky enough to win. I don’t envy you your long slog of knitting stockinette to the bottom — that’s my least favorite thing to do!

  49. Love the sweater–hope to knit one soon in a pretty color. Please enter me for either book.

  50. I would love either book ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. I love how Lucy is right in the middle of your work !!! I would love to win the Alice Starmore book – please add me to the list of names for the drawing.

    Heidis last blog post..Beyond Leap Day

  52. Kellee C. says:

    The Fisherman’s sweater book has been on my wishlist for ages, so count me in. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I recently did my first only-took-me-four days sweater last week (lots of plain stockinette, nothing fancy) in pieces, so now I’m dreaming of doing a top-down, in the round sweater in three days. Figure the odds, LOL.

  53. I would love to win either book!!!
    thank you

  54. Hi! I would love the sock book – I’ve had my eye on it for some time!

  55. Cynthia A says:

    Thank you for the contest Wendy, either book would be a great library addition – socks and sweaters, they’ll both keep you warm!

    Does Lucy seem to prefer some types of knitting projects over others? Are sweaters comfier than lace shawls? ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. Well, I’m just happy to be able to knit a sweater, let alone have a preference. I do agree it gives stability to sew the seams up, but sometimes that plain ole round about knitting is so easy and comforting when ya got a lot on your mind…hey, we have both and let’s celebrate that! How awesome to have this contest–I’ve been lusting after the IK book….

  57. Thank you for sharing your detailed toe-up sock pattern. I have knit lots of socks top down, but when I tried a toe-up sock I mangled the heel. Your instructions helped me succeed and now I am over my phobia of toe-up socks.

    Those are wonderful books. It would be hard to choose.

  58. I have a question actually… how do you *think* Harvest Lucy’s fur for spinning? Just keep what you brush off of her?
    My long haired cat is as soft as angora and I’d love to try to spin her fur, but she doesn’t really shed much either.

    Jadieladys last blog post..Weee post 150

  59. Ooo…. a book giveaway! Sign me up!

    I think it’s great that Lucy loves knitting. If only she had thumbs, she could do her own…

  60. Books, did you say a book draw – I’m in. Thanks so much.

    Taphophiles last blog post..glory is the sodger’s prize

  61. Would be happy to win either book. Thanks.

  62. But cat fur adds an extra layer of love and softness to any knitted garment!

    I’d love to be considered for either draw, thank you Wendy and Lucy.

    *waves from Kiwiland*

  63. My goodness, you sure do give away a lot through this journal!

    Rias last blog post..Back in action!

  64. I haven’t made a piecemeal sweater since perfecting the mattress stitch technique; I’ll have to plan for that soon to be able to better compare. Before, I wasn’t happy with my seaming skillz and thus preferred in-the-round sorts of efforts.

    I’d love to help unload the Starmore book… I already have the sock one.

    Kates last blog post..First Day of School

  65. Please add me to the drawing for the Alice Starmore book. ๐Ÿ™‚

  66. I agree with Lucy. Her fur is pretty enough to use as decoration. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have a copy of Favorite Socks. Great book! I’d love the Fisherman Sweaters book, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cindy (maxfun)s last blog post..What? Another project!

  67. OOohhhhhh, books! Yes please, put me in!

  68. Fur on knitted items? I didn’t know it was optional! My dog children always make sure all dark colored clothing has their fur on it before we leave the house – fawn is the perfect accessory.

    Who wouln’t love an Alice Starmore book?

  69. I would love to be entered to win the Alice Starmore book (I already have the interweave socks one). Thanks!

    Beckys last blog post..Twin Cities Part 2

  70. Cynthia Harris says:

    Please put my name in for the books! The Alice Starmore would be my choice. I hope the Cindy who won the Lucy fiber will show you and your readers what she creates with it!

  71. kelly-ann says:

    I would love to win either book. Good luck getting you sweater back!

  72. Hi! Please enter me for the Starmore book drawing. I am “stuck on stupid” with socks, though my Amazon pre-order says I should get some help in that arena on or about April 14, 2009. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you, Wendy!!

  73. I love your kitty, she reminds me of “Peter” my childhood cat. He was quite, um, chunky and he used to fall asleep on the windowsill and fall off. He also liked to eat wool. I remember coming home one day to finding a red sweater my mom had just finished knitting for my little brother sporting a huge hole in the middle. On the floor was a red woolly pile of cat barf. Yuk! We loved him anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have just been looking for patterns for fisherman’s sweaters for my two grandsons so the Alice Starmore book would be a real treat. Thanks for the offer!

    Julies last blog post..How The Deal Went Down

  74. I would love a book. I’d prefer the sock book, but either would really be a delight.

  75. I already have the sock book (many sock books!) so please enter me only for the Starmore book.

  76. Nice prizes!
    I still like the kitty the best =)

  77. Ooh! A drawing! I have the sock book, but wouldn’t mind acquiring the Starmore book.

    jannas last blog post..Pictures

  78. I love doing top down with no seaming a whole ton better than having to put together all of the pieces.

    Michelles last blog post..Rogue is finished

  79. I do like that aspect of ragdoll cats (well, along with all of the other aspects!). My friends always ask whether or not she sheds a lot, but all of the shedding happens in a small period of time in summer. WOO!

    And the sweater is looking great. It really is!

  80. What a nice offer from Pamela B. I’d love to have either of those books! Thanks for offering them up.

  81. Oh, I’d love the Starmore book!

    I’ve just got her Fair Isle book from the library and boy is it amazing.

  82. Thanks for offering up the books Pamela B. and Wendy! I would love either one.

  83. I have been hankering for that sock book but have been too cheap to buy it thus far. Please save me the money and just send it to me!!

    Lucy is lovely as usual and I can’t wait to see your sweater modeled. I know it’s not a glamour sweater but I could use a good “kicking around” sweater and if it looks flattering on you, I may just make it.

  84. Heh. I’m not sure any of my cats would stand for twice-weekly brushings. I don’t understand why they don’t like it…

  85. Oooh, I would love to have that Favorite Socks book. I’ve picked it up off the shelf every time I’ve seen it in a store, but it has yet to come home with me. Of course, I would also love the Sweaters book. Maybe having it live with me would give me the courage to try an item like that!

  86. Ever thought of keeping her fur and sending it to when you have 2 oz so it can be spun up into yarn? You then would have something of Lucy’s forever. =)

    Lizs last blog post..Knitting and shop update soon. . .

  87. I am actually spinning up my australian shepherd’s fur right now. =)

    Lizs last blog post..Knitting and shop update soon. . .

  88. yay, give-away! i have been eyeing the starmore for a while. count me in, please.

  89. Oh I have had my eye on Favourite Socks and would love to add it to my library,. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lauras last blog post..Hotdog Iam a Weiner

  90. I would love to be entered in a draw – either book sounds interesting.

    CatiePs last blog post..Birdhouse

  91. I’m looking forward to seeing the completed sweater. The color is lovely, very subtle.

    E.Engmans last blog post..SOS08 OVER

  92. Was Lucy looking at the migrating birds? Our cats were fascinated when 6 of them landed on our fire escape and hung out for like 20 minutes. Spot kept chattering and I think that in cat he was saying, “Mommy, bird, want!!!!” over and over.

    If on the off chance I should win, I’d love the Starmore book.

    Thanks as always for the inspiration!

    Liz P-Hs last blog post..Wallowing

  93. Everyone loves a drawing! Please count me in for the Alice Starmore book.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about knitting top down versus bottom up. I am set to start my first top down this winter (after Christmas) after knitting a dozen bottom up sweater (various designs).


  94. Thank you for the drawing! I can’t believe Lucy doesn’t shed with all that beautiful fur. Henry (black-hearted devil cat, aka a Manx) sheds all year long. I could make a kitten a week with his castoffs!

  95. I already have the Interweave one but Alice Starmore…..that would be so great!!!!

    Tiffanys last blog post..A Finished Blankie

  96. I’m just completing my first adult sized sweater….a cardigan, top down with raglan sleeves. I’ve really enjoyed it! I read your blog daily and would love to win either book!

    Kim in IAs last blog post..Circle of Faith

  97. I’ve been dying to give a sweater pattern a try. For some reason they seem more daunting than socks.
    But I’m sure my three furry children would be happy to help me block a bigger project on my sewing room floor…
    Lucy, you are gorgeous!!! Leave your fur wherever you please. That is your right as a beauty queen!

  98. OMG.. the my pressure fur comment made me spit out my cocktail. too funny ๐Ÿ™‚

    mias last blog post..Hard Times

  99. Hariamrit says:

    Cat hair enhances all outfits.

    I would love to enter to be gifted Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave. Thanks Wendy.

  100. I wouldn’t mind having either book.